And the Holidays Begin

In our family the beginning and end of holiday season is punctuated with birthdays.  It is a mad dash between October and January to get everything done.  Living in a colder climate, all this busyness was a great distraction from the rain.  Motivation to get up in the morning to spite the cold.  “I’ve got things to do!”  Now that we live in a warmer part of the world (I wore a tank top to walk my littles to school this morning) the holiday season is signaled by the changing of front lawn décor.  Down are the black cats and Jack O’ Lanterns and up are the beginnings of Christmas decorations.  When leaves don’t really change and the weather is a steady balmy; decorating to change the sameness is the way to go.  

October for us is birthday party, classroom craft volunteer, Halloween classroom party caterer and fall festival volunteer.  Toss in several crocheted minion hats and a Dracula cape… get the picture.    Busy, exciting, fun.

Halloween Festival 

Now that we are well into November things calm down a bit just in time for Veterans Day.

We had an amazing Veterans Day weekend.  *A little Bologna family history: Seventeen years ago my sweet husband asked me to be his wife on Veterans Day in a little sushi restaurant.  The same restaurant where we had our first date which happened to be the first time either of us had ever tried sushi. Daring, adventurous, fun, delightful.  I’ll spare you the details – but marrying my best guy friend was an easy ‘Yes’.  We immediately told family then made apple pie together.  A super way to celebrate if I do say so myself.  
No matter what we do, no matter where we are, Veterans Day is always a happy day.  

This year Ben’s family flew in for a visit.  These people are massively in love with our children; affirming, funny and inspirational to us. They are solid great people.  Time with Grandparents like these is always a good thing.  

View from the deck of the Midway

Right after the Grandparents arrived we toured the Midway which is amazing and huge.  You can easily spend all day experiencing everything.  Wear comfortable shoes, take the tour and fill your brain full of history and tradition.  If you have any questions, no worries, there are plenty of veterans who volunteer and would love to give a perspective beyond the general presentation.  In these people lies a wealth of knowledge and humor.  History comes alive when they speak it.  Very transformative.  Plus they love kids.  My children passed the Midway test and were sworn in as USS Midway Museum Junior Pilots.  I left having gained a whole new understanding of our history and the people who lived it.  

The next day we went to the Birch Aquarium.  Still another place a family could easily spend the entire day.  There are areas for kids to explore and learn about ocean currents, how power is produced, sea life and ocean health.  Everyone enjoyed the tide pool area where people could touch the sea animals.  The paddock that looked out onto the beach was lovely.  There was a dive team show that is beamed over to the local children’s hospital where the audience can ask questions and observe feeding patterns of various species of fish.  Throughout there was a conservation message and reminder of individual responsibility to keep our waterways clean and healthy. Examples such as a side by side comparison of how very similar jellyfish and garbage bags appear in the oceans current had a strong impact.  (I’m not a fish but even I thought it was pretty darned close.) To top it all off there were baby seahorses!  

Because we had worn ourselves out and needed down time we spent the third day playing board games, going on an easy paced walk with our very old dog, drawing pictures and playing in the back yard.  To round out the evening we fired up our new BBQ and watched two really good movies.  

Monday, Veterans Day itself was the day our family headed back home.  Because time with Grandparents was short, we chatted over a leisurely brunch then headed to La Jolla Shores.  It was ideal because of the playground, benches and plenty of people watching.  No need to get sandy an hour before hopping on the plane.  I also like this beach because it was the location of the CCFA Take Steps walk earlier in the year.  It was nice to see the area Au Natural.

Take Steps San Diego 2013
Many people, one voice.  Taking Steps and Being Heard.
But the topping on our Veterans Day goodness, besides hanging out with family I had not seen in four months, was talking to my Grandpa.  We did not talk about his time in service, his words on the subject are few, but we did talk about everyday life.  How is he doing?  Is he happy?  Enjoying his activities? What is he concerned about?  This may seem like an ordinary chat with ones Grandpa.  But for me, it is special.  Every conversation with my Grandpa is important.  Because he is so very extraordinarily important to me.  Speaking to my Grandpa, saying ‘I love you’ and to hear his special reply is the sweetest Veterans Day celebration of all.  

So, my sweet Bolognas that is what I have been up to.  I wish you well every day and hope for healthy, happy and fulfilling lives for you.  
Every time I do something cool, I hope you are as well.  Every time I conquer something challenging, I try to do it in a way that would make you proud.  
And don’t forget to say something nice to your Gastroenterologist.  S/he’s got your back…end. 

You Can Smile, Endure, Battle On, Survive, Thrive, & Win!